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5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

Building relationships is important to all aspects of our lives, both inside and outside of the workplace. The ability to build meaningful relationships with others is important for a variety of reasons, and in today’s environment you cannot just sit back and hope others will simply approach you. You need to be proactive, attend social events, swap contact information, and network to get to where you want to be.

Depending upon your personality type, the types of questions to ask when you first meet someone and wish to build a relationship with them may vary. However, there are a few areas that should be covered in your conversation so that you can have a meaningful discussion and get to know the other person on a deeper level. This recent article by Business Insider highlights some successful networking strategies that include the importance of getting to know the other person and finding common ground.

How do you make the transition from casual chatting to actually building a relationship with someone? Here are five questions to help you get started:

What inspired you to pursue this area of business?

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Finding out what inspired someone to pursue a particular area of business provides insight into his or her goals, interests, and passions. Chances are this person is working in their career field because it is what they love or have always wanted to do. Asking this question will help you to take a deeper look into their motivation.

Talking about inspiration in business is becoming more and more common. In fact, LinkedIn has a whole series titled “What Inspires Me” that taps into the motivation that keeps LinkedIn Influencers going. I am very passionate about my business and love talking about how I got started. I enjoy connecting with other individuals who are entrepreneurs and talking about their story as well. It helps to build a common ground between us.

What are your hobbies?

This is a simple, yet important question to ask when getting to know another person. Having information about their hobbies provides insight into their life outside of the office. You might also learn about a shared hobby or connection with your new contact. While it’s important to understand another individual’s work goals and motivations, learning about their personal interests provides an opportunity for relaxed conversation over a topic that they will be willing to open up about. In my experience, I have found that discussing hobbies with another individual is a great way to build a deeper connection with them. Often times you will learn of a shared hobby or skill, and this will create an opportunity for a stronger conversation. In addition to this, some people are lucky enough to turn their hobby into a job.

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Did you find someone who enjoys golf as much as you do? Invite them out to play a round of golf and continue the conversation during this time. You never know what this outing may lead to.

What is the biggest challenge you face in business?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the other person’s problems. No matter where you are or what your line of business, you will face challenges both big and small. According to an article in Entrepreneur, growing revenue, hiring employees, and increasing profit are all challenges for businesses, and many entrepreneurs, including myself, agree with this.

Talking about challenges creates common ground in business. For example, the individual you are talking to may have a hard time finding the right employees, and perhaps you have a tip that can help them. Maybe you can provide a solution to their situation or refer them to someone who can help. This teaches that person that you are someone they can trust, which will help them open up to you later.

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What is the area of your business that you are focused on expanding?

Often times, the end goal of building relationships in business is to form a mutually beneficial partnership and provide one another with leads, customers, and potential partners. Because of this, understanding the goals of the person you are talking to is critical. What do they want? Who is their target partner? What are their ideas for expanding their business?

I have specific areas of my business and services that I am focused on expanding in both the near future and within the next few years, and I know everyone has something they would like to improve and grow in their career. Every business should have a plan in place for growth – finding out theirs is simply a matter of engaging in a meaningful conversation and getting to the bottom of their long-term goals and desires.

What is the one legacy you would like to leave behind?

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This question provides an opportunity for a work connection and personal connection. Asking this question will give you the chance to see what is truly important to the person you are talking to, and I think this is highly necessary for building a successful relationship with someone. No matter who you are or where you are in life, everyone has a legacy that they would like to leave behind. What is yours and how do you plan on achieving it?

These conversation starters will help provide you with information about another person’s desires, motivation, and future goals and will allow you to form a deeper relationship and connection with them. When striking up conversation with the other person and asking questions that build a trusting relationship, it is important to remember not to be distracted. Separate yourself from technology or any other barriers so you can truly be in the moment and get to know the other individual.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: www.flazingo.com via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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